Tag Archives: kids

What Was Your First School Instrument? What Did You Children Get?

How on earth did we pick school instruments when we were in middle school?  I had played a little piano by the time I was forced to make an uneducated choice, and it’s probably the reason why I do not play an instrument to this day despite being very musical.

So how did my son come home from school with a clarinet recently?

I think that was a great choice of instrument, considering last year his class played the banjo and the year before they were given that wannabe instrument and all around general noisemaker, the recorder.

He wanted to play the trumpet, but chose the clarinet…

Granted, my son is way more musical than me, he plays piano and will be taking his level 2 conservatory exams soon.

But boy, how the times have changed from when we were in school, right?  Or have they?!?

What instrument did you play and why?

Was it your first choice?

I remember having to face this dilemma way back in grade 6.  My best friend at the time was a drummer – taught by the drummer from Platinum Blonde – so I wanted to drum.  But with only one drum set and the need for only one drummer, I was out of luck.  Oh, and he was REALLY good, and I was really awful on the drums.

My teacher instead gave me the cymbals and the triangle.


The following year I wanted the trombone because all the trumpets were taken, but my first time using the trombone, I used the instrument to drill my friend in the back of the head (he was sitting in front of me).  That was my absolute reason for requesting the instrument… To use it as a weapon.  What was wrong with me??  But my teacher set me straight, alright.

Bye bye trombone.

She gave me the Tuba.

Little did I know back then that nobody takes the instruments which are impossible to take home to practice… But I got the instrument that I deserved.

I managed to convince the teacher that the Baratone was better (lighter), however every class my friends would toss stuff into it (like the little plastic army guys), so when my turn to play that one note came up, my instrument made either the wrong noise or no noise at all.

The upside was that carrying that beast home (I walked to and from school) made me very strong and I learned one helluva lesson.

The following year I chose the French horn!

A rather unique instrument, but was lightweight, had 3 keys and was rarely used.  So I guess I showed her, eh?  That was until she gave me a solo in one of the school concerts.  Me, my French horn and a LOT of people watching me.  Needless to say, I was sick that night of the concert, but on my BEST behaviour the rest of the year.  I had finally met my match.

If only I had selected a real instrument and actually learned it…

… Like the recorder.  lol.


What instrument do you want your child to learn?

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Dinks, Doinks, Clowns and Jerks… How our conversation on the ride home from school progressed…

If only I could record everything that my children say which is either clever, hilarious or unexpected… They’re awesome and I love having conversations with them, or just listening to them, as they grow up.

The ride home from school was no exception.  It began with my play-by-play recap of my ball-hockey game last night, actually both my ball hockey games – back-to-back, but thinking about it now, I’m not sure they asked so much as I wanted to tell them.  LOL.  During the first game, I was one of three defensemen then moved to become one of 5 forwards.  There was a lot of running and there is nothing I like more than getting my money’s worth and running my ass of at these games!

What I wanted to tell my kids was about one play where an opposition player ran a pick play on me, and then my reaction.  My hope is always that by taking the higher road, I can teach my children how to react in situations like these and keep them from doing or saying something which can cause them pain or suffering.

So on this play, and I’m a big guy, the opposing player caught me with a knee in my thigh as I was chasing his teammate around the net trying to scoop the ball off of his stick.  That hit sent me flying and I was upset there was no penalty called because our team needed to score and the power play would have helped, not because he took a cheap shot which hurt like heck.

I thought I could still draw the penalty, so I called the guy exactly what I thought he was… a clown.

He flipped out.  He said to me, “What? You called me a clown?”

“Yes” I replied. “You’re a Clown! Who else knees someone in the thigh while they are chasing someone… a clown.  It suits your playing style and ability since they’re both a joke.”

He thought about it, and laughed.

I took two or three steps away from him – walking towards the bench – when I turned, looked back at him and said “I HATE clowns.”

He flipped out.

The referee stepped in to keep him from getting to me, and he was yelling all kinds of stuff but all I heard was, “blah, blah, blah.”  He eventually got a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.  I was sore, but all smiles on the bench.

The rest of the game he kept his distance from me.

So I told this story to my kids – explaining how I didn’t fight, or try to hurt him, because that is not nice, and I didn’t yell or swear at him, because we don’t do that.  I expected a meaningful dialogue about respect, sportsmanship, and playing hard but not going over the edge, or about keeping emotions in check… But instead I got this question right away;

“Daddy, if you don’t like clowns did you like former WWF (now WWE) wrestler Doink the Clown?”

“No”, I said. “Only when he turned bad and became evil Doink.”

Then this came out of my mouth…

“I mean clowns might as well be called what they really are… Jerks. I mean who else hides their face under white make-up, a wig and a fake nose so that they can spray water in your face or make you shake their hands where they have the hand buzzer… A jerk does that.”

My other son then asked; “What about Dink? Doink’s son?”

I replied, “I think naming a wrestler “dink” is always a bad idea since when I was growing up a “dink” was either the name kids called their penis or a name for a small metal car (dinky cars).”

“So Dink was a penis?” my brilliant child asks?

“No”, I said. “It’d be like saying Penis’ Penis… Oh, forget it.”

Then I changed the topic.


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Are Your 6-9 year-olds Ready To Be Famous? Hillcrest Mall, North of Toronto, is Looking For Models!

Hillcrest Mall

Hillcrest Mall (at Yonge and 16th Avenue just north of Toronto) is conducting a private search for one or two fashionable and outgoing boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 9 to star in its Back-to-School social media campaign set for release in mid-August. If you know any style-savvy children who would be suitable for this, Hillcrest would love to meet them.

Here’s the deal:

The Gig: The selected child(ren) would star in their own 30-second videos (2 per child) where they would talk about their Back-to-School clothing trends. It would require one day of shooting.

The Kid: The ideal candidate will be comfortable talking on camera (ad-lib or answering questions from director) and can speak about fashion trends and Back-to-School shopping.

The Reward: Participants will receive a $500 Hillcrest Gift Card (and your child would be famous!).

Bonus Round: If the candidate(s) have a fashionable parent, we would love to have them appear in the video with their child.

So now what’s next?

Send any photos and/or video of the potential candidates with a brief description (name, age, special talents) to Heidi Ruggier at hruggier@budmanpr.com. Hillcrest Mall’s marketing director, Rashmi Aimiuwu, will review the entries and invite selected candidates in for a screen test (date and locations are TBD).

I’m not sure of the closing date, so make sure to act fast!

Update: As of June 10th, I can confirm that the event is closed!  Best of luck to everyone who entered!

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Funny Things Kids Say…

My kids are nowhere near as sporty as I was growing up, and I don’t blame them.  My favourite toy was a tennis ball because I could use it with my baseball glove or my hockey stick.  When we bought new tennis balls that I could actually use for tennis… Look out!

My kids, on the other hand live in a Toronto where ball hockey playing is prohibited or frowned upon in the streets and with advent of iPhones and iPads, they can read, play, learn, etc instead of waste time outside…

So hearing my kids talk about sports makes me laugh and makes me wonder if they get teased at school by the sporty kids for their lack of knowledge of terminology.

For example;

Saturday night, Toronto’s best sports team, the Toronto Rock lacrosse team, played the 2nd game of a best of 3 semi-final at the Air Canada Centre and me and my boys went to the game!  I’ve had season’s tickets since their first season and I cannot explain enough how nice it is to have one Toronto-based team that competes night-in and night-out and that wins having won 6 National Lacrosse League Championships.

The game is fast, exciting, hard-hitting and not for the faint of heart.  If I knew about this game growing up, I would have been a great defenseman – being able to whack the daylights out of guys!  Oh the fun.

So Toronto won the game over the Rochester Night Hawks 11-8 and as a result, they tied their series and a 10-minute game was to be played right after with the winner going to the Champions Cup Finals against the Edmonton Rush.  The outcome was never in question as Toronto scored a goal a minute for the first 7 minutes, hanging on for an 8-2 victory.

Just before the game ended, my son tried to impress the girl in the row in front and wanted to tell her that the game was “sudden death”.  I guess he thought if they lost they’re done, which they would have been but sudden death in sporting terms means the next goal scored sends one team on, and the other home.

Instead, he said this;

“Wow, I hope Toronto can win this game in instant death!”

“Instant death?”

“Umm, me too” was my reply.

The girl in front of us – who turns 18 in 4 months – smiled at my son, and said, “No, I hope it doesn’t get that far because we (Toronto) are destroying them right now.”

She winked at me.

This Saturday, we are heading back down to the ACC to support the Toronto Rock in game 1  of the NLL finals.  Hopefully they will exceed their previous crowd of 10,200.  I remember the ACC being packed full for many years.  I think we owe that to the team and to owner Jamie Darwick for fielding a winning team year-over-year.

Instant death.


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Happy Victoria Day! But, why?

Happy Victoria Day!

Do you know why we celebrate “Victoria Day” or the “May 24 long weekend” here in Canada?  If not, then find comfort in the fact that you are not alone.

Tonight at dinner our kids asked us why we celebrate Victoria Day.

I took a shot and replied, “We celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday.”

My wife looked over at me with that look on her face trying to determine if I was correct or feeding the kids a line of B.S.

I nodded that this was correct, and I continued to fill my kids brains full of fun facts about Victoria Day, Canada’s oldest state holiday dating back to 1845, in which Canadians celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday.

“Why Queen Victoria and not Queen Elizabeth?” who is our current Queen, was the next question.

Well, Queen Victoria was Canada’s sovereign at the time of Confederation all the way back in 1867.  In fact, the Fathers of Confederation would not have been able to create this new country without her royal assent.

Fairly significant, one would agree.

Queen Victoria is also credited with selecting Ottawa to be Canada’s capital, based on its location on the border of English-speaking Canada and French-speaking Canada and being far from the US border better protected in case the US attacked.

Queen Victoria died in 1901 and the Federal government make Victoria Day a National holiday to be observed on May 24th each year (unless the 24th was a Sunday, then the holiday would be observed on a Monday).  In fact, in 1952, the parliament changed the holiday to be the Monday before May 24th which is why in some years it is very early (like this year).

“So why do we not celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s birthday?”

Well, we do!  Since 1953, Victoria Day has been recognized as the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II in Canada. (In England, it’s celebrated in June, even though she was actually born in April.)  Scotland also celebrates Victoria Day on the Monday before May 24th as well.

I also explained that Victoria Day also represents the day to begin planting vegetables and into the garden as the last frost occurs in early May.  It’s also the time of year that people head out to open cottages, and enjoy the outdoors.

Victoria Day has come to represent the start of summer, the opening of the garden and eating dinners outdoors.  How fireworks tie into this is a whole other story!

#Don’tDrink&Drive #WearLifeJacket #StaySafe

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